Science mu­seum re­opens in Ottawa

Canada's History - - CURRENTS - — Jes­sica Knapp

Nearly fifty years to the day from its open­ing in 1967, the Canada Science and Technology Mu­seum (CSTM) re­opens to the pub­lic on Novem­ber 17, 2017. The mu­seum closed its doors in 2014 for some much­needed ren­o­va­tions.

The mu­seum has un­der­gone sig­nif­i­cant changes. The new CSTM will have more ex­hi­bi­tion space and a more open lay­out. It will also have more ar­ti­facts on dis­play and fewer nar­ra­tive ex­hi­bi­tions. For the first time the mu­seum will have a grand en­trance­way framed by dra­matic dis­plays of ar­ti­facts big and small, old and new — in­clud­ing some that have rarely been taken out of their draw­ers or off their shelves.

“I am re­ally ex­cited about see­ing peo­ple in the mu­seum again,” said Sharon Baba­ian, the mu­seum’s cu­ra­tor of trans­porta­tion. “I am ex­cited about see­ing their faces and their re­ac­tions when they see their old friends again. The Crazy Kitchen [a pop­u­lar in­ter­ac­tive dis­play about spa­tial dis­tor­tion] and the lo­co­mo­tives will be there, but they will have a new look.”

For as long as Baba­ian can re­mem­ber, the CSTM has re­lied mainly on chrono­log­i­cal nar­ra­tives to tell its sto­ries, but in the new mu­seum visi­tors will see that cu­ra­tors have left this ap­proach be­hind.

“You don’t have to start at a spe­cific place,” ex­plained Baba­ian. “You can see and learn things in each space that are part of a larger story but which do not de­pend on you com­ing in at the be­gin­ning to make the con­nec­tions.”

De­spite all the changes, the new mu­seum re­mains ded­i­cated to be­ing a space with­out signs that say “don’t touch.” The en­vi­ron­ment en­cour­ages en­gage­ment, invit­ing visi­tors to get up close and watch ar­ti­facts in ac­tion.

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